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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

Putin Needs Victory

by | April 14th, 2014 | 10:37 am

“All we need is victory regardless of the cost.” So runs the refrain in a popular old Soviet film, “The Belarusian Railway Station,” about World War II veterans. This line probably explains President Vladimir Putin’s policy on Ukraine. The latest developments, including the seizure by Russian operatives of police stations in several towns in eastern […]

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Time for the United States to Risk Its IMF Veto

by | April 11th, 2014 | 09:41 am

Support in the United States for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is at a new low. The reasons are many and varied, and the IMF is unpopular in many countries, not just among the women and men on the streets, most of whom have never heard of the IMF unless their countries are in crisis, […]

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Are Countries Better Off with Their Own Monetary Regimes?

by | April 7th, 2014 | 09:30 am

The continuing economic and financial challenges facing members of the euro area, combined with more recent pressures on some emerging market and developing countries, raise a familiar question. What is the best monetary regime for countries facing such stresses? The answer is that no monetary regime is best for all countries, at all times, in […]

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What Were They Thinking? The Fed on the Brink of Zero

by | April 4th, 2014 | 10:22 am

How farsighted was the leadership at the Federal Reserve as the world economy was heading toward a steep decline more than five years ago? Outside the Fed’s marble halls, the answers to that question are only now becoming known, and the verdict is perhaps surprisingly positive. In December 2008, a few months after the Lehman […]

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No Change in the ECB Outlook despite Ambiguous Signals to the Contrary

by | March 31st, 2014 | 05:21 pm

Despite another month of disappointing inflation numbers, with euro area inflation dipping to 0.5 percent in the March flash estimate [pdf], the European Central Bank (ECB) will probably not take any further monetary policy easing action this week, for several reasons. First, the ECB remains wedded to its new 3-year economic outlook published last month, […]

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The IMF Debacle: Congress Is Making It Harder, Not Easier, to Help Ukraine

by | March 26th, 2014 | 04:04 pm

Once again, the US Congress has balked at approving the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reform package crafted by the United States in Korea four years ago.

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Europe’s Newest Steps Forward to Deal with Failing Banks

by | March 25th, 2014 | 10:00 am

After 16 hours of marathon negotiations, the European Union struck a deal on March 20 to create a single resolution mechanism (SRM) and single resolution fund (SRF) for failing European banks. In theory, the contours of how to shut down such a bank are now clearer, but we still need the fine print. On substance, […]

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Serious Sanctions on Russia: To Be Imposed or Threatened?

by | March 24th, 2014 | 02:30 pm

How quickly should the West ratchet up sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Crimea? This debate is dividing experts in Europe and the United States. Some commentators and observers, such as my colleague Anders Åslund and the columnist Charles Krauthammer, argue that because Vladimir Putin has effectively been channeling Adolf Hitler and is planning […]

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How Ukraine Can Use Sanctions to Counter Russia’s Aggression

by | March 24th, 2014 | 02:05 pm

With its annexation of Crimea, Russia has become a rogue state in international affairs. Russia appears certain to cause Ukraine great suffering, well beyond the annexation of Crimea, but Ukraine can also impose significant economic damage on Russia. Sanctions against Russia are wholly justified legally because the Crimea annexation violated the United Nations Charter, the […]

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More Severe Sanctions on Russia Are Needed

by | March 21st, 2014 | 02:26 pm

The most recent sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia on March 20 were a step in the right direction after earlier signs of timidity. But Washington needs to impose even more severe sanctions against Moscow and to do so instantly. The reason is that Russia today represents a specific and imminent military threat. […]

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